This retirement journey upon which my wife and I have embarked is on the cusp of bringing a major change in our lives.
We are set to relocate to a community in the greater Dallas area. We’re less than two weeks from our shove-off date.
I’m going to be candid. This impending move fills me with a bit of dread. I don’t dread the move. I dread saying goodbye to a community I have grown to love.
As I write this post, we are awaiting a possibly severe thunderstorm. Yes, I love the weather in the Texas Panhandle. I love the changing seasons. I love the summer heat, the spring blooms, the fall colors (yes, our foliage can get quite pretty in the autumn) and I enjoy the winter snowfall (unless it falls in blizzard fashion, which it has done during our 23 years living here).
Mostly, I am going to dread saying goodbye to the friends we acquired along the way. We have many of them. My wife and I both worked fulfilling jobs in Amarillo. One job occupied the vast bulk of my working life here, and that job — as editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News — enabled me to cross paths with some of the most interesting, influential and engaging individuals throughout the Panhandle.
I developed good professional relationships with many of them and some of those relationships turned into personal friendships. I had to take care to avoid letting those friendships interfere with the craft I pursued in Amarillo for nearly 18 years.
The dread comes in saying goodbye to those folks. I cannot possibly do so in person. Perhaps I can do it here. Many of them read this blog. They well might see this post and respond.
The vast bulk of my Texas Panhandle memories are good. They fill me with warmth and a touch of wistfulness as my wife and I prepare to head on down the road to Fairview.
I say all this with a certain caveat. We won’t sever our Amarillo ties completely. We have family here. We intend to return frequently — if only for short bursts of time — to see them.
Over time, our visits likely will diminish.
Yep, it’s the goodbyes that are the toughest of all.
We left Oregon in 1984 for Beaumont, Texas. When I departed the newspaper in Oregon City, the publisher gave me one of those coffee table books full of pictures of Texas. My colleagues at the paper wrote lovely messages to my wife and me. It brought me to tears.
We departed Beaumont in 1995 for the Panhandle. That day was even tougher. My colleagues at the paper also wrote goodbye wishes in a book and then played “Amarillo By Morning” that rang throughout the newsroom. I cried like a baby as I walked to my car.
My resignation from the Globe-News was, um, more sudden. I didn’t get a chance to bid adieu in the moment to my colleagues. Perhaps this will suffice.
Meanwhile, we are awaiting our shove-off date with tremendous excitement at what — and who — await us at the other end of our journey.